Aristotle

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Aristotle

Aristotle. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Aristotle.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Aristotle was born in 384 b.c., in Stagira, Greece. He achieved prominence as an eminent philosopher who greatly influenced the basic principles of philosophy and whose ideologies are still practiced today.

Aristotle was a student of the renowned philosopher Plato and tutored Alexander the Great, who became King of Macedonia in 336 b.c.

Aristotle established his own school in the Lyceum, near Athens, in 335 b.c. He often lectured his students in the portico, or walking place, of the Lyceum. The school was subsequently called Peripatetic, after the Greek word peripatos for "walking place."

In 323 b.c. the reign of Alexander ended with his death, and Aristotle sought refuge at Chalcis.

Aristotle formulated numerous beliefs about the reasoning power of humans and the essence of being. He stressed the importance of nature and instructed his pupils to closely study natural phenomena. When teaching science, he believed that all ideas must be supported by explanations based upon facts.

Concerning the realm of politics, Aristotle propounded that humans are inherently political and demonstrate an essential part of their humanity when participating in civic affairs.

Philosophy was a subject of great interest to Aristotle, and he theorized that philosophy was the foundation of the ability to understand the basic axioms that comprise knowledge. In order to study and question completely, Aristotle viewed logic as the basic means of reasoning. To think logically, one had to apply the syllogism, which was a form of thought comprised of two premises that led to a conclusion; Aristotle taught that this form can be applied to all logical reasoning.

"Man is by nature a political animal."
—Aristotle

To understand reality, Aristotle theorized that it must be categorized as substance, quality, quantity, relation, determination in time and space, action, passion or passivity, position, and condition. To know and understand the reality of an object required an explanation of its material cause, which is why it exists or its composition; its formal cause, or its design; its efficient cause, or its creator; and its final cause, or its reason for being.

Aristotle agreed with his mentor, Plato, concerning the field of ethics. The goodness of a being depended upon the extent to which that being achieved its highest potential. For humans, the ultimate good is the continual use and development of their reasoning powers to fullest capacity. To effect fulfillment and contentment, humans must follow a life of contemplation, rather than pleasure.

The fundamental source of Aristotle's theories were his lectures to his students, which were compiled into several volumes. They include Organum, which discusses logic; Physics; Metaphysics; De Anima, concerning the soul; Rhetoric; Politics; Nichomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics, involving principles of conduct; and De Poetica, or poetics.

He also wrote Constitution of Athens, a description of the foundations of the government of Athens. The work was discovered in the late nineteenth century.

Aristotle died in 322 b.c., in Chalcis, Greece.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Stagirite is attentive to the world, not only from the Metaphysical but also from the physical point of view, emphasizing its multiplicity and variety.
Ibn Sina was fully aware of the views of Aristotle on this matter and was, like Philoponos, critical of the Stagirite on this subject.
The Stagirite taught that imagination had to be distinguished from sensation, although the former was dependent on the latter and constituted the basis on which thought became possible.
Such an attempt in the eyes of the Stagirite was rightly punished as an instance of anti-social behaviour.
Indeed, Aquinas often refers to a text from Aristotle's Metaphysics 5.7, (7) where the Stagirite indicates that esse may be understood (1) as that which corresponds to the different predicaments or categories, or (2) as signifying that which is true and non-esse as signifying that which is false, or (3) it, along with "that which is" can signify either potency or act.
If the Stagirite was correct, then by nature we cannot but seek the common good.
What the authors have done is effectively convert the polarities of Aristotle's argument: the Stagirite loosens the analogy between natural 'rule' and political command, whereas the authors seek to strengthen it.
Another seminal and erudite argument for the mixture of the tragic and the comic was launched by the humanist Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba (Didascalia multiplex, 1615), who based his argument on the lack of "pure" tragedies and comedies in antiquity itself: if the ancient dramatists didn't live up to the prescriptions of the Stagirite, how could detractors demand that Lope de Vega and his followers should do so?
Monfasani rightly underscores Ficino's reluctance to enter into the fray while at the same time stressing elements of concord between the "old" Aristotelians and Platonism (as opposed to the Averroist reading of the Stagirite that was eliciting such debate in contemporary circles).
As such an undertaking is beyond the scope of this article, I will limit myself to a few remarks on the Stagirite's approach and on the way it was perceived.